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Brian Robinson

Answers to common newcomer questions

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Since this forum is now quite old, and there can be a considerable amount of detritus that pops up when using the search function, I thought I'd be of help and post links to some of the best threads that discuss come of the most popular newcomer questions.


That way, we don't need to make smug remarks like 'Use the search function' anymore. ;)



First, if you're new here, before you post anything anywhere else, go here, start your own thread, and tell us a little about yourself.




My First Absinthe Purchase: what should it be?

The answer to this question is all over the board. Some say to simply go straight for the best. Others say start of slow and buy a simpler brand.

Here is a link to a thread started in 2007 that lists peoples' Top 10 absinthes. It's interesting to see how flavors and preferences have progressed.

In any case, the answer will come down to your taste preferences. I highly recommend simply using the Review Guide to give you an idea of what some of the highest regarded brands are, but also to give you some idea of the flavors you'll experience in those brands.



I bought _____ , did I get ripped off?

If your purchase was based on claims of high thujone, or was directed at a brand that is artificially colored or not distilled, you didn't get what you thought you were buying. As with everything else, research is key when determining what you should buy. As mentioned above, take a look at the Review Guide for scores of different brands.

Further reading should include:

What to look for in an absinthe.

Absinthe Cost Comparison - Price is not indicative of quality



Shipping/Vendor questions: How long? Who? Where is my order? How reliable is ___?

Specific vendors can be searched for in the search function if you have questions about any one business.

We have a recommended vendor list that we have compiled based on member experiences. This list is by no means complete and doesn't necessarily mean if you go with a different company who is not on this list, you will not be serviced properly.

Shipping can depend on many factors. Domestic retailers should have your package to you within a week or so. International ones can take significantly longer, especially if the package gets held up in customs. Don't be surprised if it takes 3-4 weeks. However, in most circumstances it will be significantly shorter than that. If you're worried, don't hesitate to call or email the retailer directly.

Tracking numbers are notoriously unreliable when the shipment is coming in from overseas. It's not out of the ordinary to see the status of your package as 'In Customs', or still in the country of origin, and have your package delivered on that same day. I.e. if your status is stuck for a few days, it's not necessarily a cause for alarm.



Absinthe in Canada and Australia

Discussion of absinthe in Canada.

Australia - The first couple of posts pretty much sum it up.



Homemade absinthe from essences and kits

Easy enough.



Sugar or no sugar

Sugar is at the discretion of the consumer. However, sugar should NOT be in the bottle itself. If the bottle of absinthe you're looking at says 'liqueur' on it, that means it's got sugar added.

The 'absinthe sugar' you see offered on many sites are pretty much the same sugar that you can get at the supermarket, just repackaged.

Normally, your regular Dominos sugar tablets work just fine. Demarara and other gourmet sugars tend to dissolve more slowly, making it harder to use in absinthe.

This discussion is a pretty good one to read thoughts on sugar use. In the thread, there are links to other threads as well.



Making or acquiring fountains or spigots Fountain making - a rather long discussion but lots of info on making fountains and on spigots.



Storage of absinthe

Store absinthe in a cool, dry, dark place to avoid damage by UV light or by extreme temperature changes. Heat isn't likely to destroy absinthe unless it is very extreme or for an extended period of time. DO NOT refrigerate your absinthe. Doing so could cause the anethole to crystalize and leave you with a yucky bottle. You may or may not be able to get them to dissolve again when the bottle is returned to room temperature.

Store your bottle upright, like beer, not like wine. Absinthe is very high proof, and can eat through corks/plastic. Even if it doesn't eat through it, it can leach some undesirable flavors from the closure.




Feel free to add more links to this thread if you think they will be of use!

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Thank you, Brian! This thread has been extremely helpful. I especially appreciate all the information presented in the "What to Look for in an Absinthe" article. :thumbup:

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Just to spotlight my level of inexperience---



What is the difference in flavor of Pernod, Blue, and Vert? I've seen posts that say that the Swisse/Blue style are not terribly flavorful. Also that IF I was to go with a Swisse I should get the Clandestine. Other than that I'm a little clueless. I found the Lucid to be overall kindof nasty (to use the vernacular) and definitely would not get it again. I have found the "basic" Absinthe (brand?) to be the nicest on my tastebuds, on multiple levels. But Absinth is expensive enough it makes me a little wary to spend a pretty penny on a bottle with the chance I'm stuck with something I don't like. Any help in distinguishing is appreciated.....

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Clandestine is, hands down, the best Swiss la bleue available - in my opinion.


Pernod tastes like crap, in my opinion; it's an oil mix and artificially colored.


White absinthes skip the coloration step, which means they also miss some additional flavours normally imparted during the coloration. Some of them, like the Swiss la bleues, use some of the coloration herbs in their primary charge to account for this. They are also lower in alcohol content.

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Really tho... does alcohol content really matter?


Alcohol content matters, but not in terms of 'getting drunk'. Higher ABV absinthes extract and/or preserve herbal character more, IMO.


Also a lower ABV absinthe does not seem to age as well after the bottle is opened, say 50 percent and lower I think are best enjoyed soon after opening; but 60 and higher usually taste better in a few weeks or longer.


And yes, also I think a higher proof bottle does last longer, and give you some bang for your buck, so to speak.

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Not to mention texture, "smoothness", and effecting the outcome of different types of cocktails (if absinthe is being mixed with something other than water/sugar).

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Those shunning Blanches are just missing out IMHO. The clear coloring is about all they have in common, the three I have tried have been very different, but have all been very tasty. The Abv also counts when louching, since you'd want to use less water. Also, I have found blanches to be less forgiving of over watering, but when louched right, can be freaking amazing.

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